Testing Emails


Successful email tests are key to ensuring your email campaigns deploy as intended. We recommend that you test all emails drafts and email templates before sending. When testing your emails, you will want to confirm that formatting appears as designed, populated data is correct and that all links direct to the correct destinations.

There are two options for sending test emails in Pardot: you can use the test step in the wizard to receive proof emails (recommended if you’re testing email design and rendering) or you can send a live test (recommended for testing variable tags, links, and email completion actions).

For both options, it is recommended that you send the email to multiple addresses, including business and free email providers, to ensure optimum deliverability. You should also click all links in the email to confirm that they work properly. (Note: if you click the ‘Unsubscribe’ link in your email during a live test your test prospect will be opted-out. Please take these steps to opt yourself back in.)

Sending Test Emails from Within the Email Wizard (variable tag data not visible)

In Step 4 of the Email Template wizard and Step 6 of the Send New Email wizard there is an option to Send test emails available at the bottom of the wizard window. This button allows you to send test emails to individual email addresses without creating test prospects or recipient lists. In order to send a test email:

  1. Type out the email addresses to which you’d like to send tests in the input labeled ‘Email Addresses.’ If you’d like to send to multiple addresses at once, please separate each address with a comma (,).
  2. Click ‘Send test emails.’ 
  3. If your tests were sent successfully, you will see a message ‘Test emails were sent to:’ and the email addresses you specified.

Test emails

Pardot sends two proof emails — the HTML and Text content will be delivered in their own emails. The subject line of your test emails will appear as “HTML Proof – [subject]” or “Text Proof – [subject]”.

Tests sent by this step of the wizard are for proof-only. All variable tags will appear as they do in the editor (e.g. %%tag%%). You will not see the items substituted by the tags. If you are using the View Online tag, the link will appear in your email, but the page will not display when clicked from the test email system. If you are using AddThis ‘Forward to a friend’ link and if you attempt to test the link on a proof email in your inbox, you will see an error message: Your request is missing the required parameter ‘url.’

Links will not be tracked or rewritten by the system. The behavior of rewritten links may change slightly and it is recommended that you also use the testing method below to test your links as well as the View Online function.

If you are having trouble receiving an HTML proof, please check your spam folder. If you have checked your spam folder and failed to receive the Text proof or the HTML proof, don’t hesitate to reach out to support@pardot.com to confirm that the test emails left our servers successfully.

Sending Live Email Tests (variable tag data inserted)

If you’d like to see an email as it will appear to your prospects you must send the email to yourself or your users through the interface instead of using a test step in a wizard. Links may also behave differently when tracked/rewritten by Pardot. Please ensure that your URLs do not have spaces or special characters in them. If they do, please ensure that you properly encode them.

Test an email template to your email address:

  1. Create yourself as a prospect – go to Prospects > Prospects list + Add prospect. When creating the prospect, make sure that you use an email address for an inbox where you’d like to receive your test. Also be sure to include data for any prospect fields that will be populated by variable tags in your email.
  2. Once you’ve created your test prospect, click on the email address linked on your prospect record and complete the one-to-one email form. Select your template from the dropdown menu.

The email you receive should include all variable tag data (for example, if you used the %%first_name%% tag, you should see your name displayed). Links will also be tracked/rewritten by the system and will appear using your vanity tracker domain.

Test an email template to list of email addresses:

  1. Create a test list – click Marketing > Segmentation > Lists + Add list. Name your list ‘Internal Test’ or some other name that will easy to reference later.
  2. Create prospects for each email address that you’d like to receive a live test – go to Prospects > Prospects list + Add prospect. Once you’ve created the prospect, click on ‘Lists’ in the prospect navigation bar, select your ‘Internal Test List’ from the dropdown menu and click ‘Save lists.’ Repeat these steps for each email address that you’d like to include on your test list.
  3. Send yourself the template as an email – go to Marketing > Emails + Send New Email. In Step 1 select ‘Email from Existing Templates.’ In Step 4 select your internal test list. Skip Step 6. In Step 7 select ‘Send immediately.’

Everyone on your list will receive an email with variable tag data (for example, if you used the %%first_name%% tag, they should see their names displayed). Links will also be tracked/rewritten by the system and will appear using your vanity tracker domain.

Please note: tracked URLs from live test emails should never be shared internally or with your prospects, as this can cause visitor association changes to occur.

Test an email draft:

  1. Follow the steps outlined Step 1 and Step 2 of ‘To test an email template to a list of email addresses’ above. It’s okay if your test list only contains one prospect; you will need a recipients list for the email wizard.
  2. Select your test list as the recipients list in your email draft. Update the delivery date in Step 7 to ‘Send immediately.’

Once you have received a successful test to your inbox, you can copy your sent live test and convert it to a list email. To do this, go to Marketing > Emails > Sent emails > find your live test and use the action cog to copy your test email. Update your email name, recipients list, and delivery date for your intended email blast.

Email Rendering Preview & Spam Analysis

If you have the Gold Email Package, you can also preview the content and subject of your email in multiple email clients and test your email against several spam filters. Instructions and more information are available here.